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Sep 4, 2012

Surviving Mealtime with a Picky Eater


They say 1 in 5 preschoolers is a picky eater. 

I have one in my house.

It drives me nuts.
We've tried everything from force-feeding to starvation tactics.

Have I mentioned that my preschooler is also strong-willed?
Here's my 10-step coping strategy:
(If your kid eats like a champ, please try to withhold judgement. If you're the mother of a picky eater, please help me to feel normal.)

1. Grab and pen and paper and start writing down what he actually eats. You'll be surprised when you make it to food number 23. Give him at least one thing he likes at every meal.

2. Putting an entire plate of broccoli in front of him is probably scaring him. Calling it a "broccoli forest" doesn't help the situation. Think small when it comes to serving up intimidating foods. And if he still refuses, then remember: you did your part.

3. Never cook an alternate dinner, but if he's happy with non-cook option like fruit or yogurt, let him be. You should probably be eating fruit and yogurt instead of that big whopping serving of lasagna anyway.

4. Severely limit your purchase of "empty calorie" snacks. You gotta make every calorie count at this point.

5. Give in to the grazing lifestyle. It's more developmental than anything. His body isn't ready to handle a full-fledged feast at every meal.
6. Healthy binging is not as bad as it seems. If all he wants is peanut butter and apples at every meal for an entire week, then so be it. Give him a vitamin and call it a day.
7. Buy that cute plate in the picture above. It will serve two purposes: it'll remind you to offer a variety of foods, and it'll keep the different foods on his plate from touching. You know how he hates that.
8. Trade in your frustration for a little patience. You have little control over how much he eats, when he eats, and if he eats. Rest in the fact that you put the right stuff in front of him at every meal.

9. Chill out, but don't give up. You're in this for the long haul.

10. Making mealtime a battle will only make him more resistant to eating. Keep emotions surrounding mealtime positive, and one day he may enjoy mealtime as much as you do.
The end.

What are you coping strategies for dealing with a picky eater? 

(Seriously, I need some input.)

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